Undersea Microstructures

From Nadia Drake’s Ars Technica story: Mysterious Undersea “Crop Circles” Finally Explained:

In 2011, scientists determined that the rings themselves were made of eelgrass, a native type of seagrass that hosts small fish and other crustaceans. Late last year, after studying the circles, the same team found that an interaction between the eelgrasses and seafloor sulphides sculpts the mysterious shapes.

Normally, stands of eel grass grow outward in a radial pattern, forming big, circular grassy carpets. But as the grasses grow and populate shallow waters, they tend to grab onto and sequester mud that would normally continue moving along the seafloor. As the sulphide-saturated mud accumulates around the eelgrasses, the poison begins to kill the plants, starting with the older, weaker grasses in the circle’s center.

Eventually, as poisons hollow out their centers, the stands of eelgrass take on a ring-like appearance, leaving the seafloor spotted with one of the shapes that’s almost guaranteed to intrigue and perplex us

Advertisements

About Abi

My name is T. A. Abinandanan, and I am a professor of Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
This entry was posted in New and Interesting, Popular Science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s